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11. Iowa Gov. Samuel J. Kirkwood to Lincoln regarding Gen. John Fremont's request for Iowa troops.


11. Iowa Gov. Samuel J. Kirkwood to Lincoln regarding Gen. John Fremont's request for Iowa troops.


Letter from Iowa Governor Samuel J. Kirkwood to Abraham Lincoln regarding General John C. Fremont's unauthorized request for Iowa regiments in Missouri, a pivotal border state during the Civil War. Kirkwood expresses support for Fremont's decision and asks that the Iowa troops assembled at his request (3rd Cavalry and 13th-15th Infantries) be allowed to be enrolled into service. October 1, 1861. Copy.




Becki Plunkett and Stephen Vincent


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Original scanned at 600 dpi w/ sRGB color space.


State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines

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State Archives of Iowa: Record Group 43 (Governor)

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Executive Office [,] Iowa October 1st 1861 His Excellency [,] The President Permit me to call your attention to the following matters. 1st. Gen. Fremont has requested me to raise certain regiments in this state for U.S. service. One (the 3rd Iowa Cavalry) has been mustered into the service. Three others the 13th, 14th, & 15th Infantry are now filling up. It is now said here that Gen. Fremont’s authority to call for these regiments is denied at the War Department and that these regiments will not be received. I have this day written the Secretary of War on this subject and respectfully solicit your attention to it. Gen. Fremont may have acted irregularly in calling for these troops otherwise than through the War Department but irregular action has been at times a necessity and it seems to me very clear that at a time when the rebels seem to outnumber our forces at every point of contact it will not be best to reject regiments even if improperly called for. The condition of affairs in Missouri is such as to excite intense interest in this state. Our people have been compelled again and again either to witness the complete expulsion of the Union men from northern Missouri and the accumulation of the rebels in such numbers as to seriously threaten their own safety or to go over into Missouri without authority, sustain the Union men and aid them in driving back the rebels--they have always chosen the latter alternative. When the U.S. forces recently drove the rebels from St. Joe., there were with the U.S. forces over 1200 Iowans who were there not as U.S. soldiers but as citizens of the state. They were in military organizations, under military officers. Their services were accepted by U.S. officers and their conduct as orderly as that of the U.S. troops. But this state of affairs in not desirable and the state would much prefer to furnish more than her share of troops if its necessity could be accorded. I have therefore endeavored to furnish Gen. Fremont with whatever forces he has asked from me and I trust that although they may have been irregularly called for their services will not be refused where they are so much needed. 2nd. There is much discussion in the papers in regard to the course pursued by Gen. Fremont. Many are disposed to censure him severely and it is much stated that he will be superseded. Others assert that a combination exists to break him [d]own. I do not know whether his conduct has been censurable or whether a combination exists against him; but this I do know that Gen. Fremont has the confidence of the mass of our people and that his removal at present or unless the propriety & necessity for his removal can demonstrated, would be disastrous in its effect upon our people.?